The Priest of Pará – Profiles

“Father Henri Des Roziers is a Dominican priest and human rights lawyer working in Pará, one of Brazil’s most violent regions. For the past three years his daily life has been overshadowed by 24-hour police protection. His bodyguard is always just a step away. This has been made necessary by the death threats he receives from those opposed to his work with Pará’s landless communities.

The murder of an American nun, Sister Dorothy Stang, in the same region only two years ago – suggests the danger is very real. As with Sister Dorothy, 78 year old Father Henri, has turned his faith into a lifelong commitment to help those from poor, rural communities. Many who have either little or no right to land, or to justice for human rights violations.

In the Priest of Pará, Nick Maes is given a privileged insight into Father Henri’s life and his faith. He investigates the links between his religious vocation and his job as a lawyer. Why is fighting for the poor in Pará a cause he would give his life for? Nick talks to those who live and work with him, those who support him and those who do not.”

BBC (click to listen to the 20-odd minute audio documentary on Father Henri)

Carandiru Massacre – All but forgotten

The third most searched for topic on my blog is Candiru, the vampire fish from the Amazon. Often times, I think people meant to type Carandiru instead…but maybe not, as it is being forgotten.

“The Carandiru Massacre, considered a major human rights violation in the history of Brazil, happened sixteen years ago (October 2, 1992) after a riot broke out in the 9th Pavilion of Carandiru Prison Complex in São Paulo. The riot went out of control, which led to the elite force of the Military Police being called in and a confrontation which resulted in the reported death of 111 prisoners. No police were killed.

Human rights groups claim most prisoners were unarmed and offered no resistance, and that the police also fired at inmates who had already surrendered or had tried to hide. Regardless of this, no one has ever been punished, and the only person to be tried was the commanding officer of the operation, colonel Ubiratan Guimarães (assassinated in September 2006 in a possible crime of passion). He was initially sentenced to 620 years in prison but the conviction was later revoked after mistrial claims.”

More can be found on Global Voices, written up by Paula Góes.


Follow the link below for a subtitled short interview on the subject from someone who was there.

HUB interview with a witness and former inmate.